• Information: Snacks Are Not Enough

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    As you prepare for your next venture in life, your next job, you need to focus. Focus and prioritize all the info nuggets you uncover in your job-seeking research. With the profuse amount of diverse information available today, you need to concentrate on that which helps you clarify who you want to be, facilitates doing the work you want to do and helps you articulate these goals to yourself and others.

    There are lots of us who thrive on learning new, and often, arcane bits of lore to enrich our lives. But, as with life, not all snacks are equal.

    Sharon Hayes in her post for Year of a Lifetime: Make 2010 Your Best Year Ever has a fascinating critique of the ways in which today’s proliferation of and easy access to  information has turned us into snackers. “We have become addicted to information… We skim and get the general idea of information rather than absorbing and understanding it….  It is a really vicious cycle for many people: we don’t filter the information we take in to determine what is important or isn’t, we scan rather than read those things that could impact us, we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what we discover, we don’t take action on what we learn and then we feel the need to share this snackage with others.”

    Job-seeking research is essential but it should not be tackled superficially or allowed to become an avoidance technique. Deal with the real work necessary to find the job you desire, and then you can snack with delicious abandon.

  • The 3 Facebook Settings Every User Should Check Now!

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    “Take 5 minutes to protect your privacy.”

    In this article Sarah Perez of ReadWriteWeb provides a step-by-step procedure to address a critical matter – your privacy.  It’s not complicated and it is extremely important that you tackle this matter post-haste.

    “While you may think these sorts of items aren’t worth your time now, the next time you lose out on a job because the HR manager viewed your questionable Facebook photos or saw something inappropriate a friend posted on your wall, you may have second thoughts. But why wait until something bad happens before you address the issue?”

  • The Boomers’ Guide to Good Work

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    The Boomers’ Guide to Good Work, a free booklet created by Ellen Freudenheim for Civic Ventures, contains many valuable nuggets of information. Contents include: “What Works for You?” and “Think Outside Your Fishbowl.”

    Ellen Freudenheim is the author of Looking Forward: An Optimist’s Guide to Retirement.

    A lifestyle guide for boomers, Looking Forward has been recommended by The Wall Street Journal and ranks among the best-selling retirement books. Freudenheim is also a guest columnist for Retirement Weekly, a service of MarketWatch from DOWJONES, and a frequent guest on national television and radio news programs. She has also written six other books, including Healthspeak, a dictionary of 2,000 health care terms.

    Civic Ventures is is a think tank and incubator, generating ideas and inventing programs, including The Purpose Prize, to help society achieve the greatest return on experience.

    Grab your flippers and jump in!

  • “Retirement, that swoon of a word, just won’t do!” Ellen Goodman

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    Twenty inches of fresh snow, 3-foot drifts and small white mountains, higher than I can lift my shovel – that’s winter in Maine. But to see the summer hydrangeas – looking a bit ragged around the edges, I admit, but still – bravely lifting their elegant heads toward the sun is enough to sustain hope that Spring will come again!

    Snowbound days like these are good for reflection: considering where we have been and where we would like to be.

    To help put you in the right frame of mind, I recommend Ellen Goodman’s final column, “Letting Go,” in which she says, “it is never easy to know that right moment to step into the next stage.”

    “After 46 years of deadlines” she continues, “it is time to take in some oxygen, to breathe and consider.”

    The snows will melt soon enough. No need to hurry our decisions. The back steps are icy and I would not want to slip. The future holds good things. No need to nip them in the bud.

  • 24 Free iPhone Apps for Job Hunting

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    Doriano “Paisano” Carta, blogging for the WebWorkerDaily, has identified 24 unique free iPhone apps that can help you with your job search and preparation for interviews.

    The apps cover a wide variety of diverse careers, helpful tips from recruiters and a broad geographic scope –  from finding a global position to SnagaJob which uses your iPhone’s GPS to locate jobs within a five mile radius of where you’re standing. It also uses zipcode searches to locate positions beyond the length of your arm.

  • Skoll Foundation Awards $765,000 to Senior Social Entrepreneurs

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    Skoll Foundation Invests in Encore Career Innovation

    The Skoll Foundation has announced that its first Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship in 2010 will go to Civic Ventures, a nonprofit think tank focused on boomers, work and social purpose.

    In making the $765,000 award, the foundation cited Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of Civic Ventures, for his vision of inspiring millions of boomers to pour their life experience into encore careers that combine personal meaning, continued income and social impact. “This new and growing workforce for social change could solve some of society’s toughest problems – from education to the environment, health care to homelessness,” the foundation noted in its announcement.

    The award is the first made by the foundation to an organization that is focused on a demographic revolution: a new stage of work for adults who have completed their midlife careers and aren’t ready for true retirement.

    The Skoll grant will help Civic Ventures promote encore careers and make midlife transitions easier with new continuing education programs, Encore Fellows initiatives and the Encore.org online community.

    The foundation also commended Freedman for creating The Purpose Prize, a $100,000 award to social innovators in their encore careers.

    Read the Skoll Foundation press release.

  • Why Qualified Candidates Don’t Always Get the Best Jobs

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    “Out of 1,700 resumes 1,685 people did not get the jobs.”

    Larry Slesinger, President and CEO, Slesinger Management Services has some of the best, most straightforward, free information for job-seekers on the web. His Slesinger Management Services is an executive search firm that helps nonprofit organizations in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area recruit talented people for senior management and leadership positions.

    In his article, Why Qualified Candidates Don’t Always Get the Best Jobs, Larry itemizes why many qualified people were considered “dead on arrival” as soon as he read their applications.

    Although, Larry does not direct any comments at the 60+ job seeker specifically, every nugget is valuable advice for all of us to heed.

  • College Alums? You Can Go Back to the Well

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    This NY Times article, You Can Go Back Again, describes the ways in which your old college career office has begun opening its doors – and resources – to those who graduated years ago and are seeking career changes and new jobs.

    Take advantage of these opportunities – many are free. It’s not just the information and skills training. Just as important is the network because, as the article notes, this is not pure altruism on the part of your alma mater. The college has a vested interest in the success of this outreach. The career office provides a way for them to stay in contact with graduates, and successful alumni may be more likely to help others find jobs, or even contribute money to the school’s endowment. So it’s a win-win for everyone – the best possible scenario!

  • Time To Translate and Repurpose Your Skills for the 21st-Century Marketplace

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    This might seem a daunting task, but help is on the way at the O*Net Resource Center. This free online tool is worth the weight of its extensive database in gold.

    The O*NET program is the nation’s primary source of occupational information. Central to the project is the O*NET database, containing information on hundreds of standardized and occupation-specific descriptors. The database, which is available to the public at no cost, is continually updated by surveying a broad range of workers from each occupation. Information from this database forms the heart of O*NET OnLine, an interactive application for exploring and searching occupations. The database also provides the basis for their Career Exploration Tools, a set of valuable assessment instruments for workers looking to find or change careers.

    About those “descriptors:” Every occupation requires a different mix of knowledge, skills, and abilities, and is performed using a variety of activities and tasks. These distinguishing characteristics of an occupation are described by the O*NET Content Model, which defines the key features of an occupation as a standardized, measurable set of variables called descriptors.

    The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) is being developed under the sponsorship of the US Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA) through a grant to the North Carolina Employment Security Commission.

    Bookmark this site!

  • 5 Great Ways to Conquer Self Doubt

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    I found 5 Great Ways to Conquer Self Doubt by Alexandra Levit especially meaningful for any 60+ year-old who might be suffering some self-doubt as they contemplate entering or re-entering the job market. Alexandra contributed this guest post to Zen Habits.

    Zen Habits is one of my favorite Blogs. Created by Leo Babauta, “Zen Habits is about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives. It’s about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, find happiness. It also happens to be one of the Top 100 blogs in the world, is uncopyrighted, and goes well with anything chocolate.”

    Alexandra writes,”Self doubt has been something I’ve struggled with all my life, from debating whether I could get into a top tier university to believing I could succeed as a writer. It’s a very human emotion, and it’s made worse for some people because of life experiences or temperament. Self doubt also makes you feel alone. Sometimes you think you’re the only person in the universe who suffers from a crisis of confidence, and you wish that you could be more like your successful, self-assured neighbor. Well, I guarantee that your neighbor doubts himself every now and then too.You won’t ever be able to rid yourself of doubt entirely – believe me, I’ve tried. But I hope that these suggestions will lessen your pain when dark thoughts are all around you.”

    Go back in time: The first step to overcoming self doubt is to recognize that it’s there in the first place. Think about the circumstances that are leading you to feel insecure, and see if you notice any patterns. Are there particular situations (for example, dealing with a new boss, speaking in public) that prompt you to feel this way? Make a note of times in the past when you doubted yourself but ended up coming through with flying colors. Knowledge and recognition of your past successes will bolster your courage regarding what you can achieve in the future.

    Defeat the doubtful thoughts: In one column, write a doubtful thought, and in the opposite column, write facts that dispute that doubtful thought. For instance, suppose you are afraid to invite a new colleague to lunch because you’re afraid you won’t have anything to talk about and she won’t like me. Statements that refute that thought might be: ‘We can spend at least an hour talking about the office culture here and what she did before this’ and ‘She will like me because I’ve made a sincere overture to get to know her better.’

    Keep an event journal: If you are a person who experiences a lot of self doubt, then it’s time for a test. In the course of a single day, write down all of the things – simple and complex – that you accomplished without a hitch. These can be things like “ran productive staff meeting” or “had great talk with Brandon over coffee.” Then, write down the things that didn’t go so well. You will inevitably notice that the list of things that went well far outweighs the list of things that didn’t, and this will hopefully allow you to see your doubt in a different light.

    Call on your cheerleaders: Often, our loved ones can see our lives much more objectively than we can. Being a natural introvert, I sometimes doubt my interpersonal skills, and when someone doesn’t respond to me in the way that I expect, I occasionally get paranoid. It always helps to call one of my best friends so that she can assure me that I do in fact have a lot of wonderful relationships in my life.

    Celebrate your successes: When a situation in which you doubted yourself turns out better than you expected, don’t just nod and smile and move immediately on to the next thing. Take a moment and reward yourself for a positive outcome. Do something you enjoy like going to your favorite restaurant or eating a delectable dessert. Taking the time to cement positive emotions in your mind will hopefully make the doubt disappear more quickly next time.

    Alexandra Levit is also author of the new book “New Job, New You: A Guide to Reinventing Yourself in a Bright New Career.”

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